Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke

“What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance?”

From his poem, “In a dark time” —

Stuck in my mind, an advanced English class, upper division, on American Poetry since 1945, at least, I think that was the title. The various schools, and what it meant. Can’t recall, for sure, might’ve been a simple survey class, but the professor brought in a recording of Roethke reading one his poems, a deep, gravelly, yet oddly sonorous voice, thick with New England intonations, roiling and rolling through one of the more famous poems.

“What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance?”

  • Theodore Roethke, “In a dark time”

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